Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

M.H. v. State

Court of Appeals of Alaska

September 23, 2016

M.H., Appellant,
v.
STATE OF ALASKA, Appellee.

         Appeal from the Superior Court No. 3PA-14-036 DL, Third Judicial District, Palmer, Gregory Heath, Judge.

          Renee McFarland, Assistant Public Defender, and Quinlan Steiner, Public Defender, Anchorage, for the Appellant.

          June Stein, Assistant Attorney General, Office of Criminal Appeals, Anchorage, and Craig W. Richards, Attorney General, Juneau, for the Appellee.

          Before: Mannheimer, Chief Judge, Allard, Judge, and Suddock, Superior Court Judge.[*]

          OPINION

          MANNHEIMER Judge.

         Under Alaska Delinquency Rule 21(a), delinquency proceedings are tried to the court unless the juvenile requests a jury trial. Rule 21(a) also states that a request for jury trial must be made "no later than 20 days before any scheduled trial date" (unless there is good reason to allow the request to be made with less advance notice). The primary question presented in this appeal is how to interpret the phrase "scheduled trial date".

         In Alaska, most criminal and delinquency cases are not given a specific date for trial until just before they are actually tried.

         Instead, if a case is to be tried, it will be placed among a group of cases that are presumptively ready for trial, and the entire group of cases will be scheduled for a status hearing or conference. This status hearing or conference is sometimes called a "trial call", or a "calendar call", or simply a "scheduling hearing". But regardless of its label, the function of this court proceeding is (1) to determine which cases among the group are, indeed, ready for trial, and (2) to establish the order in which the individual cases will be tried. Generally, the first case to be tried is given a date certain, and the others are put in a "trailing" status. That is, those cases are brought to trial whenever the preceding case is resolved and the assigned judge becomes available.

         For simplicity's sake, we will refer to this court proceeding as a "trial call" in this opinion.

         The issue in this appeal is whether the requirement of 20 days' advance notice for requesting a jury trial should be calculated based on the date of the trial call, or whether this deadline should be calculated based on the specific trial date and time that the court sets later, as the court works its way through the list of cases to be tried.

         For the reasons explained in this opinion, we conclude that when a minor's case is not given a specific trial date at the very beginning, but is instead scheduled for a trial call, the 20 days' advance notice specified in Delinquency Rule 21(a) is calculated based on the date of that trial call.

         Underlying facts

         The State filed a delinquency petition against M.H., alleging that he had committed theft. In November 2014, the superior court set M.H.'s delinquency case for a trial call on January 6, 2015.

         The attorneys handling M.H.'s delinquency case appeared at the trial call on January 6th, and they returned to court on January 8th. At that time, they announced that M.H.'s case had not been resolved, and that M.H. still wanted to go to trial. However, M.H.'s attorney also stated that she wished to raise a suppression issue.

         The court allowed M.H.'s attorney to file the suppression motion the next day (January 9th). At that time, the prosecutor assigned to M.H.'s case noted that M.H. had not filed a request for a jury trial, so the prosecutor suggested that the court could resolve all of the pending matters by holding a combined evidentiary hearing and bench trial the following week (on January 15th).

         In response to the prosecutor's suggestion, M.H.'s attorney declared that M.H. wanted a jury trial. The superior court denied this request as untimely.

         On January 15th, the court held the evidentiary hearing and denied M.H.'s suppression motion. The court then proceeded to hold a bench trial on the underlying allegation against M.H. At the conclusion of this trial, the court found that M.H. had committed the charged theft, and the court adjudged M.H. to be a delinquent minor.

         Why the 20 days' advance notice specified in Delinquency Rule 21(a) is to be calculated based on the date of the trial call

         As we explained earlier, Delinquency Rule 21(a) states that a minor's request for a jury trial normally must be made "no later than 20 days before any scheduled trial date".

         M.H. argues that when a delinquency case is included among the group of cases at a trial call, the phrase "scheduled trial date" refers to the specific trial date and time that the court later establishes for the delinquency case as ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.